Just Three Things

cc photo by J. Delp

Today I was searching for a document in Evernote and I stumbled across a list I created a few months ago. I took a few minutes and read the entire list. I smiled.

Every bullet point on the list identified something for which I am grateful. People, experiences, specific situations — a hodgepodge of happiness. It was created when I committed to recording three things for which I was grateful, for thirty days. I’m not sure why I stopped, because as I re-read the list, not only did I feel better, but I remembered how writing down those three things improved my daily outlook.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage (highly recommended), author Shawn Achor writes:

When you write down a list of “three good things” that happened that day, your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives.

Cultivating the habit of searching for the positive in our lives can certainly improve our daily outlook. It won’t solve all of your problems, or make the struggles go away, but it will remind you that there are things in your life to be happy about.

I have decided to recommit to recording three items a day on my gratitude list. Join me. Give it a try and see if you aren’t a little happier. Just three things.

1. ______________

2. ______________

3. ______________

Out of the Wind

cc photo by J. Delp

Quiet does not come naturally to me. Even when I am able to escape the rush and chaos of daily life, the noise in my head can be overwhelming. A rerun of the day’s activities, a mental review of a to-do list, or pondering problems that may, or may not, exist. Figurative noise that keeps me on edge and makes rest a challenge.

While I wish I could write that I have learned the secret to silencing the mental clutter, I can only say that I have an idea of where to begin. In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote the following about the deliberate practice of pursuing quiet:

It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. 

I can certainly relate to the idea of my day beginning with hopes, ideas, problems, and lists “rushing at me like wild animals.” There are many days where it feels like the entire zoo shows up once. Lewis’s words provide a prescription for finding peace in the chaos of our daily lives — an opportunity to be intentional in our pusuit of quiet.

For a few minutes each day,

  • Shove “the zoo” aside
  • Listen to the other voice – calm, peaceful, and assuring
  • Consider a different perspective
  • Stand back from the noise – quit fretting

…come in out of the wind.